Turkey-Greece earthquake: 70-year-old rescued alive from rubble as death toll reaches 58

More than 100 people have been recovered from the debris since the quake struck on Friday

Daisy Lester
Sunday 01 November 2020 15:48
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Turkey earthquake: 16-year-old girl and her dog rescued from rubble

A 70-year-old man was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey early on Sunday, 34 hours after a strong earthquake struck Turkey and Greece, killing 58 people and injuring more than 900.

Ahmet Citim was taken to hospital, after telling rescuers “I never lost my hope.” 

His story was one of a handful of bright moments in the aftermath of an earthquake that has darkened many other families with grief. 

Cameras on Saturday captured the rescue of a teenager, Inci Okan, and her dog, Fistik (Pistachio), 17 hours after they became trapped, while elsewhere a cat was rescued by a K-9 sniffer dog. 

AFAD, Turkey’s disaster and emergency management service, measured the quake as having a magnitude of 6.9. 

So far, 682 injured survivors have already been discharged from hospitals and 214 are still being treated.

There have been 786 aftershocks – 40 of them registering a magnitude stronger than 4, according to the AFAD.

The quake hit a depth of 6.6, triggering a mini-tsunami that flooded the third largest city in Turkey, Izmir, and the Greek island of Samos.

Two teenagers were killed on Friday on Samos while 19 were injured on the island.

Meanwhile, at least 20 buildings have collapsed in Izmir, a city with a population of nearly three million.

People were seen on Friday running into the streets in panic and fear when the quake struck.

Since the disaster, rescuers have continued to dig beneath the rubble in search of survivors, with nearly 4,000 workers, 475 vehicles and 20 sniffer dogs deployed.

Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday 103 people had been rescued from the debris.

Aerial view of search and rescue workers in the morning hours at debris located in Bayrakli district, Izmir, Turkey on 1 November, 2020

From her hospital bed, 16-year-old Okan promised to play the violin for the emergency rescue worker who held her hand during the extraction.

Elsewhere on Saturday, three young children and their mother were rescued alive from the rubble, 23 hours after the powerful quake.

Search teams found Seher Perinchek, 38, and her children under one of the 20 collapsed buildings in Izmir.

Three of her four children – aged three, seven and 10-year-old twins – were taken to hospital while rescued teams continued efforts to extract the fourth.

One reportedly died of their injuries later in hospital, the Turkish health minister said.

Meanwhile, a 65-year-old man was pulled alive from the rubble, 26 hours after the quake.

Search and rescue teams have been working across nine buildings in Izmir, with more than 5,700 personal from state agencies, municipalities, and non-governmental organisations enlisted for rescue work and food distribution.

It is unclear how many more people remain trapped under the rubble. Turkish media reported three more people were pulled out Sunday from one of the collapsed apartment buildings, but their conditions are not known.

Dogs, cats and rabbits have been rescued from the rubble with footage on Sunday morning showing a rabbit named Ponpon being pulled from the debris. The animals owner was later found dead, according to reports. 

On Sunday, Turkish agency Anadolu said that a cat had been rescued from one of the buildings by a sniffer dog.

The dog, from Turkey’s Search and Rescue Association (AKUT), detected the cat during the night while searching the wreckage. The team handed the cat back to its owner after removing it from the debris.

The collapsed buildings were in an area undergoing urban transformation due to its lack of earthquake resistance

Tremors were felt from the quake across western Turkey, Istanbul, and the Greek capital, Athens.

Turkey is prone to earthquakes as the country crosses fault lines. In 1999, a devastating earthquake that hit northwestern Turkey killed some 18,000 people.

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